Oregon Public Broadcasting

Voters in Clark County are preparing to vote on a sales tax increase supporting the local transit agency.

The CTRAN board put the measure on the ballot to make up for some lost funding from the state, and the dampening effect of the recession on CTRAN's existing sales tax revenue.

Robert Chu is a regular rider. He and his girlfriend both have vision impairments and don't drive to school and work. Chu's mother, a stroke victim, also relies on the local CVAN service for shopping and trips to church.

"We're only asking for two pennies on a ten dollar purchase," Chu said. "In my opinion, that's such a small increase to protect that segment of our population that relies on public transportation. it just blows my mind that people wouldn't be willing to pay for that."

CTRAN's critics argue the agency should freeze all workers' wages and drop plans for a light rail line before asking for the increase.

Chu says he believes the agency has shown fiscal responsibility.

The last time CTRAN asked voters for an increase was 2005. That request passed.

This story originally appeared on news.opb.org.

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